Sunday, June 03, 2018

Why you decide to be an artist?

'Why you decided to become an artist'.  Yesterday this was posed as a topic on which to comment by Baz Whitehouse, an artist friend. I hadn't previously given it much thought, but at first tongue in cheek, I thought it deserved its own blog post.  So here we go...  

In the olden days when there were 8 half a crowns in a GB£, and I was around 7 years old, every week I would enter and, more often than not win half a crown in the painting competition promoted in our local newspaper.  'There's money in this art malarkey' I thought. Half a crown is about 12.5 pence in new money.  I've always been an optimist.

But seriously, I think 'being an artist' was who I was always meant to be.  At school I was pretty average at most things, apart from art.  I hung out with the arty crowd and it was always assumed I would go to art school.  That all came a bit un-stuck when the art master put me forward, and I was accepted, as a textile design student at our local art school.  But because I aspired to study at the Regional College of Art in Manchester and then go on to the Slade to study fine art .....(always did have illusions/fantasies that needed to be tugged down to earth at times )  I decided that didn't suit me at all, and in a fit of pique did something else entirely.

But, it seems my old art master wasn't altogether mistaken, and probably at that time knew me better than I knew myself, because decades later I worked freelance for needlecraft magazine publishers creating designs for readers to follow.  Some of my designs continue to be marketed as kits and needlecrarft projects commercially.

Around 2003 when living in Cyprus I began to believe that I could properly begin to express the artist in me.  I shall always be grateful to Stass Paraskkos, who founded the Cyprus College of Art, and my tutors there Andreas Efstathiou, Grahame Parry and visiting tutor, abstract artist Patrick Jones for giving me that freedom.

When I look at their work now, I can see how these mentors each influenced me in different ways.  They would probably be disappointed I didn't push myself more.  But as I see myself as a perpetual student .... there's still time.

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